|RYAN K. LINDSAY
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DF Interview: Ryan K. Lindsay looks at the darker emotions in SF thriller, Negative Space
By Byron Brewer
When one man’s writer’s block gets in the way of his suicide note, he goes for a walk to clear his head and soon uncovers a century-old conspiracy dedicated to creating and mining the worst lows of human desperation.
This is the world brought to us this month by writer Ryan K. Lindsay (Headspace, CMYK) and Owen Gieni (Manifest Destiny, Shutter) in Negative Space from Dark Horse Comics.
To get all the info on this exciting new series, Dynamic Forces caught Lindsay between vegemite sandwiches and quizzed him about the book.
Dynamic Forces: Ryan, before we get started on your great new book from Dark Horse Comics, tell us a little about how you happened to get into comic book writing. You are a native of Australia, correct?
Ryan K. Lindsay: I am an Aussie which meant as a kid meant we were well behind the States in our comics on the stands, and we also only had a handful of comic stores upon our island. Nonetheless, my oldest brother was a Marvel zombie and so I soon got bitten. They've rarely left my life since and one of the few constants to maintain with them has been my passion for writing.
I often tried to make my own comics as a little fella but having the artistic skills of a centipede with crayons taped to its legs held me back and made me gun-shy about attempting the medium. Of course, as an adult, I realized collaboration was the key and I'm blessed to live in an age where the internet has solved any problems of the great divide.
The rest really just fills itself in as I spent years honing my craft, some botched pitches, and then the last few years have been spent making DIY comics [shorts and one-shots] and slowly landing amazing gigs with superb artistic co-pilots attached -- such as Headspace at Monkeybrain/IDW with Eric Zawadzki, Sebastian Piriz, Marissa Louise, and Dee Cunniffe, and now this new book at Dark Horse, Negative Space with Owen Gieni.
DF: Tell us about Negative Space.
Ryan K. Lindsay: It's this Philip K. Dick-infused emotional sci-fi thriller about Guy Harris, a depressed American Indian man who sits down to pen his suicide note and gets writer's block, the poor bastard. From there, he goes for a walk to clear his head and stumbles into a larger conspiracy where a mega-corporation has been orchestrating and harvesting human emotions for many years in order to placate a scary and very unknown underwater race of creatures.
DF: What can you tell us about Harris and any other protagonist?
Ryan K. Lindsay: Guy Harris is suicidally depressed, and we open on the first page with this very much in view. He's been ground down to an emotional nub and he's ready to go. So as a lead, he's not your average hero, though that doesn't mean he can't be heroic. He hates himself but he loves the world, he just thinks it would all be better without him. But when faced with the option to do the right thing, he rarely hesitates.
He's been an interesting puzzle to unlock on the page because I don't want his depression to play like a plot device, it is integral to him as a man as well as the narrative for the entire story to the very last page, but I also don't want to have a story where our lead is constantly down and not engaging. It's been a very fine line to walk but I feel like we've done a great job with it.
DF: Is there a lurking big-bad?
Ryan K. Lindsay: There are two. Firstly, there's the Kindred Corporation -- a mega-corp that's setting up and mining human misery whenever and wherever it can. We put a face on them with two main agents: Rick and Briggs. They've been ridiculous fun to write as he's an ass clown and she's quite mysterious.
Then, beyond them, we have the Evorah. The nasty primal emotionally feeding monsters that we don't realize live below us. They are merely teased in the first issue so I can't give away too much but rest assured their history appears on Page 1 of the next issue.
DF: Sounds like a very cerebral book, certainly different. Do you think you will have any difficulty selling such a book mainstream?
Ryan K. Lindsay: Yeah, honestly, I do. Haha, but that's not just on the fact it's about depression, it's also from an unknown writer, and Owen's art feels more European than something straight outta cape comics. This isn't a book that's for everyone but it's my hope that for those who it is for, it is everything.
DF: Was there any particular inspiration -- media, personal or otherwise -- that led you to create Negative Space?
Ryan K. Lindsay: The impetus was the opening page, a writer sitting at his suicide note with writer's block. From there I peeled the story apart and you can see layers of my influence: PKD, Cronenberg, my feeling that characters should be diversified hence our cast representing many cultural backgrounds and sexual orientations. People have mentioned feeling elements and tone from LOST, The Truman Show, and The Cabin in the Woods. All that pleases me.
DF: What has it been like working with artist Owen Gieni?
Ryan K. Lindsay: Beyond superb. His artwork is so richly expressive and conveys such depth of world building. He really brought these characters to life and as such was able to breathe life into their emotional problems and weight.
People are going to lose their minds over Owen's work on this book because it's so nuanced, and controlled, and poignant. He handles these gigantic beats just as well as he does silent heartbreak. There's nothing he can't do, especially as he colors his own work too.
DF: Ryan, what else -- comics or non-comics -- can we expect from your keyboard in the near future?
Ryan K. Lindsay: I have a slew of creator-owned one-shots all coming down the pike that I can tease. From teenage girls at a sleepover getting immense power to a brother and sister living in a lighthouse to intergalactic ways of dealing with loss, I've got it all covered. It's going to be a busy and wild few months as these all drop in one way or another.
I also have a beach noir story that won't be too far off being announced and it's gorgeous and deadly and I can't wait to share it.
And beyond that, well, stay tuned.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Ryan K. Lindsay for taking time out of his busy schedules to answer our questions. Negative Space #1 from Dark Horse Comics is in stores now!!
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